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You have an empty fire extinguisher and you have no idea what to do with it. Tossing it in the recycling bin just seems wrong and you definitely don’t think you should be disposing of it in the garbage. So, what’s the best solution for disposing of an empty fire extinguisher? We’re going to take you through exactly how to dispose of empty fire extinguishers, so you’ll know what to do the next time you have one.
Make Sure You Can’t Reuse It
While your first instinct may be to find a way to dispose of an empty fire extinguisher – after all, it is empty – let’s make sure you can’t recharge it first. Fire extinguishers can certainly be used again if they’re only used once, and can be refilled by a trained professional.
Earth911.com tells us why you might be able to reuse your fire extinguisher, before you think of disposing of it for good:
Luckily, your fire extinguisher is made of highly recyclable materials, like aluminum for the tank and steel for the valve. But before we get into recycling, let’s review when you need to recharge your extinguisher.
Loss of pressure: Over time, fire extinguishers lose their pressure. That’s why they have a gauge that shows the ideal pressure. If the pressure is too low, contact your local fire department and ask if it can be recharged. They might be able to recharge it at no cost or refer you to a professional for servicing.
After each use: If you use your extinguisher just once, you need to have it recharged. Some extinguishers can be manually refilled, but without training this can be dangerous. You should use a trained professional to make sure your extinguisher is safe and gets recharged with the correct extinguishing agent. Your local fire department may be able to refer you to a professional.
Can Fire Extinguishers Be Recycled?
While empty household fire extinguishers can technically be recycled, they can’t just be taken to the curb like the rest of your household recycling. Fire extinguishers can be hazardous for a number of reasons, whether or not they’re empty.
Buschsystems.com explains why fire extinguishers can’t be recycled with the rest of your used items:
How Do You Dispose of an Empty Fire Extinguisher?
Now that we’ve established what you can’t do to dispose of an empty fire extinguisher, let’s talk about what you can do. Fire extinguishers need to be dropped off at specified locations and it’s important to make sure that your fire extinguisher is empty before disposing of it.
Smcfire.org gives their instructions on how to dispose of an empty fire extinguisher:
Discharge the fire extinguisher to empty any remaining contents that might be lingering inside the cylinder. Prior to recycling, the fire extinguisher must be completely empty.
Disconnect the head from the cylinder.
Recycle the head and the cylinder at any drop-off site that accepts ferrous metals, such as steel.
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